Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program
SOW Report
Contract 63531: 2008-116-00 EXP WHITE STURGEON ENHANCEMENT
Project Number:
Title:
White Sturgeon Enhancement
BPA PM:
Stage:
Implementation
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Intermountain Columbia Upper 100.00%
Contract Number:
63531
Contract Title:
2008-116-00 EXP WHITE STURGEON ENHANCEMENT
Contract Continuation:
Previous: Next:
58656: 2008-116-00 EXP WHITE STURGEON ENHANCEMENT
  • 67010: 2008-116-00 EXP WHITE STURGEON ENHANCEMENT
Contract Status:
Closed
Contract Description:
White sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus, like many sturgeon species worldwide, have suffered declines in abundance and distribution. The subpopulation of white sturgeon in the upper Columbia River above Grand Coulee Dam is classified as Critically Endangered (CE) by the IUCN and listed as endangered under the Canadian Species At Risk Act (SARA) due to persistent recruitment failure. Recruitment failure in the upper Columbia River between Grand Coulee and Hugh Keenleyside dams (the Transboundary Reach) white sturgeon population was first documented during studies conducted in the early 1990’s in the Canadian portion of the Reach (the Keenleyside Reach). Similar results were obtained in 1998 in the Washington portion of the Reach (the Roosevelt Reach). In response to increasing concerns over the threat of extinction, the Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative (UCWSRI) was formed in 2000. The UCWSRI is an international organization with members from state, provincial, and federal fisheries agencies, Canadian First Nations, U.S. Tribes, and industry stakeholders in British Columbia and Washington State. The Initiative produced an Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Plan (UCWSRP) that is compatible with the ESA and SARA legislation. The goal of the UCWSRI, as defined in the UCWSRP, “is to ensure the persistence and viability of naturally reproducing populations of white sturgeon in the upper Columbia River and restore opportunities for beneficial use if feasible.”

The White Sturgeon Enhancement Project (WSEP) is a new project that was identified in the 2008 Fish Accords Memorandum of Agreement between the Colville Confederated Tribes (CCT) and the FCRPS Action Agencies. The project is intended to complement the existing recovery effort by addressing factors limiting recruitment of white sturgeon in the Transboundary Reach. This will be achieved by implementing the UCWSRP in direct coordination with the UCWSRI partners and Lake Roosevelt Co-Managers. Thus, the project goal is that of the UCRWSRI (above). The project specific objectives are consistent with the short- and medium-term objectives in the UCWSRP. The CCT WSEP objectives are to 1) monitor the status and trend of the Transboundary Reach white sturgeon population, and 2) identify factors limiting natural recruitment of white sturgeon in the Transboundary Reach.

Objective 1 - Monitor Population Status
Objective 1 is consistent with the UCWSRP short-term objective to assess the population status of white sturgeon in the Transboundary Reach. Population status and trend monitoring, and associated database management, are considered core components of the recovery effort. In 2013, the CCT, under this project, will supply a boat and crew to support the population monitoring efforts that will be led by the Spokane Tribe’s Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Project (1995-027-00) in Washington and by BC Hydro in British Columbia. Population monitoring will consist of setline stock assessment surveys to estimate abundance, growth, and condition, as well as fall sub-yearling gill net surveys to monitor for natural recruitment.

The historic, current, and future work related to Transboundary Reach white sturgeon has generated, and will generate, a substantial amount of data. There is a need for an integrated UCWSRI relational database management system that encompasses data collected by all of the UCWSRI partners to assist with research, monitoring, and management activities. In 2013, the CCT WSEP will subcontract and lead (i.e. request for proposal [RFP] development, contracting, facilitation) the development and maintenance of the UCWSRI database management system. The UCWSRI database could form the framework for a Columbia Basin White Sturgeon Data Management System such as that developed for pallid and shovelnose S. platorynchus sturgeon activities in the Missouri River system – the Sturgeon Information Management System (SIMS).

Objective 2 - Identify Factors Limiting Recruitment
Objective 2 is a component of the UCWSRI Recovery Plan's set of medium-term objectives and seeks to determine survival limitations (bottlenecks) acting on remaining supportable populations and establish feasible response measures. The bulk of sturgeon larvae produced in any given year emerge from the substrate to begin feeding in the upper river-reservoir transition zone of the Roosevelt Reach during July. The timing of larval emergence generally coincides with rapidly declining river discharge and reservoir refill - factors that collectively may limit downstream dispersal. Sampling efforts to date indicate that larvae are not found downstream of the transition zone. Conditions in the transition zone are apparently not conducive to survival as evidenced by lack of subyearling captures during fall gill net surveys. However, limited recruitment does occur in years- most recently 1997 - when very high river discharge (>5,663 m3 s-1) coincides with emergence of first feeding larvae. This suggests dispersal may be a primary mechanism influencing survival and indicates that suitable rearing habitat may exist in areas downstream from the river-reservoir interface.

In order to evaluate the larval transport/habitat mis-match hypothesis, the CCT and subcontractors will conduct hydrographic surveys of the upper Roosevelt Reach to characterize bathymetry and substrate typology in 2013. The habitat characterization results will form the foundation for future habitat modeling work to be completed under this project.

In addition to habitat modeling exercises, we will investigate the larval transport/habitat mis-match hypothesis empirically by conducting paired larval release experiments to compare relative survival to fall subyearling and fall yearling ages between release locations. This work will be contingent upon the CCT obtaining non-Federal funds to purchase and mark the larval sturgeon. If non-Federal funding is secured, experimental fish will be released into areas where naturally produced fish are known to be present each year (China Bend) and into areas further downstream in the upper reservoir where sampling efforts to date have indicated larvae are absent. The relative survival of release groups at subyearling and yearling ages will be evaluated from catch in fall gill net surveys.
Account Type(s):
Expense
Contract Start Date:
12/01/2013
Contract End Date:
11/30/2014
Current Contract Value:
$631,576
Expenditures:
$631,576

* Expenditures data includes accruals and are based on data through 30-Sep-2020.

BPA COTR:
Env. Compliance Lead:
Contract Contractor:
Work Order Task(s):
Contract Type:
Contract (IGC)
Pricing Method:
Cost Reimbursement (CNF)
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Viewing of Work Statement Elements

Deliverable Title WSE Sort Letter, Number, Title Start End Complete
Environmental compliance A: 165. Produce environmental compliance 11/30/2014 11/30/2014
Funding Package Submitted B: 119. Manage and administer the White Sturgeon Enhancement Project 11/30/2014 11/30/2014
Juvenile, subadult, and adult sturgeon catch and biological data for analysis C: 157. Stock Assessment (setline) 10/15/2014 10/15/2014
Subyearling (juvenile) catch and biological data for analysis D: 157. Sub-yearling (juvenile) monitoring (gill netting) 11/30/2014 11/30/2014
Multibeam, backscatter, and video data for bathymetry and sediment facies maps E: 157. Hydrographic survey (habitat assessment) 11/30/2014
Water velocities for the upper Columbia River - June - August F: 157. Characterize river velocities (habitat assessment) 11/30/2014
Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative Database Management System G: 160. Develop and maintain UCWSRI Data Management System 10/31/2014 11/30/2014
Distribute data and results amongst white sturgeon recovery collaborators and the UCWSRI H: 161. Provide summary data to the UCWSRI TWG and other sturgeon researchers/managers 11/30/2014 11/30/2014
Bathymetry and sediment facies maps of the upper Roosevelt Reach in WA I: 162. Bathymetric and sediment facies mapping 11/23/2014
Relative survival of experimental release groups J: 162. Evaluate survival of larval sturgeon release groups 11/30/2014
Review project proposals and reports pertaining to upper Columbia sturgeon recovery efforts K: 122. Provide Technical Review for other UCWSRI projects and reports 11/30/2014 11/30/2014
Attach Progress Report in Pisces L: 132. Submit Progress Report for the period Mar 2012 to Nov 2013 11/30/2014
Participation in the annual Columbia Basin Sturgeon Management meeting and UCWSRI Recovery Pla M: 189. Participate in Columbia Basin White Sturgeon Management Process and UCWSRI Recovery Planning 11/30/2014

Viewing of Implementation Metrics
Viewing of Environmental Metrics

Primary Focal Species Work Statement Elements
Sturgeon, White (A. transmontanus) - Lower Columbia River
  • 3 instances of WE 157 Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data
  • 1 instance of WE 162 Analyze/Interpret Data
Sturgeon, White (Acipenser transmontanus) - All Populations except Kootenai R. DPS
  • 1 instance of WE 157 Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data
  • 1 instance of WE 161 Disseminate Raw/Summary Data and Results
  • 1 instance of WE 162 Analyze/Interpret Data

Sort WE ID WE Title NEPA NOAA USFWS NHPA Has Provisions Inadvertent Discovery Completed
A 165 Produce environmental compliance 12/01/2013
B 119 Manage and administer the White Sturgeon Enhancement Project 12/01/2013
C 157 Stock Assessment (setline) 09/20/2013
D 157 Sub-yearling (juvenile) monitoring (gill netting) 09/20/2013
E 157 Hydrographic survey (habitat assessment) 09/20/2013
F 157 Characterize river velocities (habitat assessment) 09/20/2013
G 160 Develop and maintain UCWSRI Data Management System 12/01/2013
H 161 Provide summary data to the UCWSRI TWG and other sturgeon researchers/managers 12/01/2013
I 162 Bathymetric and sediment facies mapping 12/01/2013
J 162 Evaluate survival of larval sturgeon release groups 12/01/2013
K 122 Provide Technical Review for other UCWSRI projects and reports 12/01/2013
L 132 Submit Progress Report for the period Mar 2012 to Nov 2013 12/01/2013
M 189 Participate in Columbia Basin White Sturgeon Management Process and UCWSRI Recovery Planning 12/01/2013
N 185 Periodic Status Reports for BPA 12/01/2013